Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) announced yesterday (May 3) that its two natural gas pipelines in West Texas are in service.
The Comanche Trail pipeline will run 195 miles long; the Trans-Pecos 148 miles. Both sister pipelines will deliver natural gas to Mexico. The Comanche Trail went into service on January 30, as scheduled, and should deliver 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The Trans-Pecos Pipeline went into service on March 31, 2017, and is set to deliver more natural gas at 1.4 billion cubic feet per day.
Latinx and Native people have been challenging the pipelines since at least September 2016, when they held a rally in support of Standing Rock and learned they had their own pipeline battles building locally. In January, an unidentified pipeline opponent locked herself to an excavator to prevent construction. ETP spokesperson Lisa Dilinger previously told Colorlines that more than 91 percent of the land acquired for the Comanche Trail pipeline was acquired through voluntary easement agreements, but pipeline opponents claim landowners were forced to give up their land.
“Farmers were bullied into leasing their land with [this] billion dollar [company],” wrote Crystal Arrieta, member of local environmental organization Earth Guardians El Paso, in a message to Colorlines.
“Above everything, the pipeline puts people at risk,” she went on. “It puts crops at risk. It puts water at risk.”
Frontera Water Protector Alliance organizer Eric Stoltz understands that organizers didn’t begin contesting these two pipeline projects as soon as they should have in order to prevent them from running through communities. Instead, organizers have focused their energy toward proposed pipelines they had a stronger chance of stopping, he says.
Arrieta says that the Holly Pipeline is owned by Dallas-based petroleum company Holly Energy Partners. It is set to run 10 miles through El Paso County. Opponents have created a petition to stop the pipeline. So far, it has over 42,000 supporters. The petition states:
Ome Tlaloc and Tlazolin Xochiquetzal live in Montana Vista, a low-income, mostly Hispanic and Mexican Indian community where the pipeline will pass. “We were never warned or asked if there was any concern from us that a petroleum pipeline would be crossing our lands,” [Tlaloc said]. “We were never invited to a town hall meeting or consented to allow our property values to be essentially reduced.”
Organizers like Stoltz and Arrieta are determined to challenge future pipeline developers as they see the ETP transport oil through their communities. ETP is also the same pipeline developer behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline that runs 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Illinois.